The following two-person mentalism routine is presentationally derived from Charles Cameron's "The Spirit Tells" (Cauldron #3, 1967); the method, however, is quite different.
The medium having been sent out of the room, the performer begins by offering a brief discussion of auras — psychic "vibrations" that emanate from individuals, and in turn from objects they come in contact with.
A small wooden box is introduced. This box can be closed with a small metal hasp,
through which there is a padlock, which is at present not locked. The key to the padlock is given to a spectator to hold. The box is opened, and placed onto the table.
The spectators decide on a "target item" for the test — any common object belonging to any person in the room. For example, a wristwatch is nominated. This item is held over the open mouth of the box — so as to allow the object's aura to be absorbed into the box. . .
A spectator delivers the box to the medium, who — following a few moments privately with it — returns the box to the spectator. The padlock is now shut through the hasp on the box.
The spectator brings the box back to the assembly. The person holding the key unlocks-the box, and finds therein a slip of paper, upon which the medium has written, "I sense the vibrations associated with timepieces — perhaps a wristwatch. . ."
The method, in addition to being deceptive, has the added feature of requiring virtually no effort on the part of the medium; all of the work is actually done by the performer.
The box is a loader. Certain Lippincott-style boxes will function, as will the old Watch Box, various types of Prediction Chests, and so forth. The performer must be able to have secret access to the interior of the box after it has been locked closed.
In addition to the already named props, the performer will need a billet index, prepared with slips of paper describing various common objects — pen, watch, glasses, cigarettes, coins, and so on. These should be written out by the medium, in his/her own handwriting.
The handling is obvious. During the initial build-up, the performer sees to it that an object is nominated from among those covered by the billets. During the time that the box is in the hands of the medium, there is ample time for the performer to obtain the correct billet from the index, holding the slip finger-palmed.Upon receiving the box, of course, the medium simply shuts the padlock through the hasp, and returns the empty box to the spectator.
When the spectator returns to the room, he/she naturally hands the box to the performer, who inquires, "Who has the key?" Under cover of this misdirection, the billet is loaded inside the box. The rest is in the presentation.
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